Violence against the Kurds in the Turkish Republic

A historical analysis of systemic violence

Uğur Ümit Üngör and Ayhan Işık argue that violence against Kurds in Turkey is systemic with changing methods during different periods of Turkey's history since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

In this chapter in the Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Turkey, the authors examine the political violence carried out by the Turkish state against the Kurds, especially during the Republican period.

For Turkish political elites, who aimed to establish a homogeneous nation state under the Turkish identity after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds were considered a major problem to the unitary nation state. With the establishment of the Republic, violence became a routine policy adopted by the Turkish state against the Kurds in northern Kurdistan, but became much more pronounced at certain periods.

The chapter separates state violence into three main periods: the single-party period of genocide and genocidal massacres (1923–1945); the 1980s and 1990s counterinsurgency violence period; and the 2015–2016 destruction of the cities. The chapter argues that the main politics of the Turkish state elites against the Kurds is political violence that is systemic, but with different methods in different periods.

Researcher

Dr Ayhan Işık

Professor

Professor Uğur Ümit Üngör

More information

The Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Turkey discusses the new political and social realities in Turkey from a range of perspectives, emphasizing both changes as well as continuities. Contextualizing recent developments, the chapters, written by experts in their fields, combine analytical depth with a broad overview.

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